3 Inspiring Memoirs That Will Change Your Definition of “Self-Love”

Lessons from people who’ve achieved the stars, lost them, and rebuilt their life from scratch.

3 Inspiring Memoirs That Will Change Your Definition of “Self-Love”
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Lessons from people who’ve achieved the stars, lost them, and rebuilt their life from scratch.

When I was young, I used to begin every essay on the life of a famous person with the Assamese translation of A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow-

“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.”

That said, I’d never truly been inspired by any one person’s life. I’ve always been an avid reader, but I mostly stuck to fiction. Only recently, did I start reading non-fiction, and my favorite among them are memoirs and autobiographies.

It’s always a humbling experience to learn from the life, mistakes, and mindset of someone who’s already achieved incredible heights. Memoirs are loaded with lessons and they always leave me with a rush of adrenaline, ready to take on whatever life throws at me.

This post contains three incredible memoirs by three super-inspiring people from different backgrounds and walks of life that changed my definition of “self-love.” They urged me to dream bigger, love myself more fiercely, and stand up for my dreams, no matter what the world tells me.

Read on, and if you find your favorite book or personality on the list, do let me know in the comments.

(Note: The links mentioned in this article are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase these books through these links, it will help me earn a small amount of money — at no extra cost to you. Thanks!)

1. Will by Will Smith

Image: Goodreads

This is the story of Will Smith — one of Hollywood’s most successful and recognizable movie stars.

I didn’t know what to expect from this book, but the moment I read the first chapter, I knew I was hooked for good.

The book begins on an explosive note, with young Will’s father hitting his mother on the head, and him swallowing the regret of not being able to do anything to help her.

I never knew there was abuse and trauma in the larger-than-life star’s childhood, and I was more invested in his story than I had ever imagined.

How this book will redefine self-love

This is a classic hero’s journey, with Smith overcoming his humble background and abusive childhood to become one of the most known faces in today’s world.

But more than that, it’s Smith’s incredible focus, work ethic, and passion that made me fall in love. Some parts inspire more than any self-help book I’ve ever read. The part where he talks about the importance of knowing your purpose and fighting to keep it alive has my heart.

I stumbled upon this book when I was feeling pretty directionless in my life. It helped me answer some very important questions related to my life goals and pushed me to launch my first large-scale digital product.

“Life is like school, with one key difference — in school you get the lesson, and then you take the test. But in life, you get the test, and it’s your job to take the lesson.”

Will inspired me more than any book has in recent times. If you’re ambitious and want to live a life fueled by curiosity, I highly recommend this book.

Get the book here.

2. The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

Image: Goodreads

Amy Schumer is an Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, writer, and star of Inside Amy Schumer and the acclaimed film Trainwreck.

As she makes it clear in the introduction, this isn’t her memoir. She’ll write a memoir when she’s in her 80s.

Right now, at 35, she has put together a collection of stories about her family, teenage years, her relationships with others, and herself. In usual Amy Schumer style, the book is peppered with jokes and anecdotes, making this book feel like a Friday-night hangout session with your closest friends.

How this book will redefine self-love

Even if you’ve never heard of her, Amy’s story is inspiring, and there’s surprising depth hidden beneath all the self-deprecating humor and vagina jokes.

She comes across as strong, hard-working, honest, and most importantly, someone who loves herself and wants YOU to love yourself.

“I know my worth. I embrace my power. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story. I will.”

I recommended this book to everyone, especially young women. Amy Schumer has an important message of self-love that I think needs to be heard and practiced.

Get the book here.

3. Unicorn by Amrou Al-Kadhi

Image: Goodreads

This is the memoir of Amrou Al-Kadhi, an Arab born in Iraq and raised with strict Muslim values, who moves to Britain during their early teens and starts life as a drag queen called Glamrou during and after college.

It’s so heartwarming to see young Amrou growing up with their strict Islamic values. They’re always counting their points for sin and points for doing something good. The love for Allah is ingrained deep into them, as is the love for their family.

But when Amrou is ten, they start realizing they might like men. But how can they be homosexual when the Quran apparently considers it as one of the biggest sins? How can a person so obsessed with making sure they have more “good points” than “Sin points” acknowledge that just by existing and being who they are, they are committing the greatest, most unforgivable sin?

And thus begins Amrou’s journey of first rejecting Islam and all that it represents to finally making peace with the concept of Allah and religion. The journey is so moving and heartbreaking — it often veers into dark places, but Amrou’s sharp wit keeps the text from becoming too depressing. We get to explore the world through the eyes of this gender-non-conforming queen who shows us humanity at its best and worst.

How this book will redefine self-love

This book is such a rewarding journey towards uncovering the various layers that make you, YOU. It raises some important questions about gender, sexuality, race, nationality, and identity that will force you to rethink your definition of what’s right and wrong.

If you’ve ever been bullied, laughed at, or made fun of for who you are, this book will give you the courage to stand with your head held high. It will inspire you to live life on your own terms, no matter how many times the world tries to crush your spirit and bring you down.

“I find a great affinity with unicorns. They are the ultimate outsiders, destined to gallop alone. They share the body of a horse and are similar in form, but are a different nature, almost able to belong in an equine herd, but utterly conspicuous and irrefutably other.”

I can’t recommend this enough, especially the audiobook — performed by the author themselves — is a true gem.

Get this book here.

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